12 Days of Fitness Challenge: Day 12 - Burpees

Guess what?!  You made it to the last day of the 12 Days of Fitness Challenge!  Congratulations!  Only one more exercise to go...

Today's challenge is probably the most difficult of the exercises we've done so far, which is the reason I saved it for last.  Burpees!  Many people, myself included, have a love-hate relationship with this move.  It's challenging when done properly.  It taxes the shoulders, biceps, triceps, core, quads, glutes, AND cardiovascular/respiratory systems all in one move.  How awesome is that?!  Here's your challenge:

  • Start standing, arms stretched above you, shown below (A).
  • Hinge at the waist and bend your knees to squat down, bringing your hands flat to the floor (B).
  • Hop your feet back to a high plank position, keeping your core engaged so you maintain spinal alignment (C).  It's very common to let the back sag during this move, especially as muscles fatigue.
  • Then reverse the move back up to starting position (i.e. from high plank, hop your feet back in toward your hands and stand up tall).
  • Repeat this pattern as quick as you can.  Let's go for time: try 15 seconds to start.  If you think you can go longer, try 30 seconds.  If you think you can go longer still, aim for 1 minute.  Do this AMRAP-style, meaning complete as many "rounds" (burpees) as possible in that timeframe.
  • Do this 3 times throughout today.

Here are some variations I'd like you to try:

  1. Add a push up.  The traditional burpee has a push up included once you're in the high plank position.  Add this in if you can!
  2. Add a jump at the top.  As you stand up, use your legs to propel yourself up into the air slightly.  Remember to land softly on your feet and immediately crouch down again. 
  3. Lower intensity step up/back.  If you find you need a break from the higher intensity versions, here's an option for you.  Instead of jumping your feet back to plank position, step them back one at a time.  If you want to keep the push up here, do it.  Then step your feet back up to your hands and stand up.  There's always a modification that you can do to maintain movement, but decrease pressure on joints!

Good luck, everyone!  Remember, this is your last exercise challenge of the 12 days, so give it all you've got!  Here's to YOU!  Until next time, have a safe and happy day ahead!

P.S.  I would LOVE your feedback on this challenge, since this is the first one I've done on the blog!  One of my goals for 2015 is to create more of challenges to get us all engaged and active this year!  If you could take a minute or two to fill out the form below, I would greatly appreciate it!  Thanks!

12 Days of Fitness Challenge: Day 2 - Squats

Happy Day 2 of the Fitness Challenge!  How did those push ups go yesterday?  How many did you get through?  Remember, part of the challenge is checking in to stay accountable!  This will be particularly important as we get closer to Christmas this week when things start to get busy! So remember to use the hashtag #12daysfit if you’re on social media, or comment on the blog posts with your progress! 

We focused on our arms yesterday, so today’s challenge is going to be leg-based: squats!  Squats are a great low-impact leg exercise that will target your quadriceps and glutes if done correctly.  Start standing with your feet about hip width apart (pictured below, A).  Bend at the knees and lower yourself down as far as you can, keeping your spine aligned and chest up (pictured below, B).  An easy way to do this is to think about sticking your butt out behind you (pictured below, C).  Seriously, it helps!  Immediately come back up to starting position.  Continue this pattern for as many reps as you can.  

If you’re in need of some variety for today's challenge, feel free to try these options:

  • jump squats - propel yourself up into the air on the way up out of the squat position (make sure to land light on your feet!).
  • add a hold at the bottom - try doing 10 squats, and then holding the last one down for 10 seconds.  Repeat that pattern for as many as you can.
  • add some pulses - similar to the hold, try 10 full squats, and then on the last one, pulse your legs, bringing yourself up only about halfway, and then back down again quickly. 

As with yesterday’s challenge, do as many as you can until you start to lose form.  Poor form here would be lowering your chest to your knees, needing to brace your hands on your knees to continue, etc.

Rules for today’s challenge:

  1. Check in on social media or the blog to let me know how you’re doing!  Have comments or questions?  Feel free to ask those, too!
  2. Just like yesterday, I’d like you to get through 2 sets today. 

Let me know how you do!  We’re on our way to a healthier holiday season!  Remember, it’s not too late to join, so get your friends and family involved!  Have them sign up so they don’t miss any special tips, motivational posts or other fun challenges coming your way!